Dear Young Engaged Man,
As your marriage approaches, it is completely appropriate for you to begin seeking counsel about contraceptives. I am thankful for your commitment to avoid abortion and your question about which contraceptives truly protect life.
As you know, God alone is the giver and taker of human life (1 Samuel 2:6). Scripture clearly teaches that life begins before birth. In the book of Psalms, David recognized that his personhood began at the moment of conception. Biblical texts include verses like Psalm 51:5, Psalm 139, Genesis 25:22, and Luke 1:41. The Bible teaches that life begins at the moment of conception.
In God’s eyes, a blastocyst is just as human as a seventy year old man. Therefore, when a person considers birth control, it is imperative that they do not use methods which destroy life after the woman’s egg has been fertilized.
Following up on that discussion, I wanted to be sure to write to you about my findings regarding “The Pill”. The Pill was one of the main drives of the sexual revolution back in the days of volkswagens and large tie-dye shirts. Baby-free sex became a possibility for women and the popularity of the Pill even surpassed that of Lava Lamps. Society has not been the same since.
Presently, over 100 million women are on the Birth Control Pill. Many women take the Pill for purely medical reasons and are not sexually active. Certainly this is more than fine. No complaints here.
But there is a powerful misconception about this “contraceptive.” It is prescribed by both Christian and non-Christian doctors as an ethically legitimate way to keep from having children. In these situations, it is not women seeking help for medical treatment, but women seeking to prevent pregnancy.
The Pill is a very effective means of pregnancy prevention. It is rather rare that someone becomes pregnant while on the Pill. Statistics range from 1%-4.7% of women who become pregnant even though they consistently and accurately used the Pill. While this seems like a successful method to the Pill’s manufacturers, this statistic is a startling and horrifying fact.
Many people, including sincere pro-life Christians, are unaware that the Pill uses three types of birth control mechanisms. The Physicians Desk Reference explains the different functions of the Pill which can be found in this more detailed article.
Medical jargon aside, the Pill does three things:
- Prevents eggs from being released and thereby prevents fertilization
- Increases mucus which does not permit the sperm and egg to unite
- Thins the lining of the uterus which can prevent a fertilized egg from living
The first two mechanisms of the Pill are contraceptive. If this was all that the Pill accomplished, then there would be no moral controversy. However, the third mechanism of the Pill is abortive in its function. The third function of the Pill is to weaken the uterine wall and reduce the chances of an already fertilized egg (human life) from implanting on the wall. If the fertilized egg cannot implant, it will die.
I would most definitely affirm the Pill if it was only a contraceptive. A contraceptive prevents the sperm and the egg from uniting. An abortifacient kills the fertilized egg after it is already conceived. This is literally a life and death difference. God is explicit that murder is not morally permissible (Exodus 20:13).
In light of this evidence, the question must be asked “How often do the first two mechanisms fail and the third succeed?”
To answer this question we must know that every year 420,000 babies are born despite their mothers taking the Pill. In order for someone to become pregnant while on the Pill, it means that all three mechanisms of birth prevention have failed. The troubling reality is that we do not know how many times the first two contraceptive mechanisms failed and the third abortive mechanism worked. We simply do not know how many times the third mechanism snuffs out lives.
Randy Alcorn asks the question, “How many children failed to implant in that inhospitable environment who would have implanted in a nurturing environment unhindered by the Pill?” (Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?). He then postulates that if the number of deaths was twice the number of Babies born then there would be 840,000 deaths a year because of the Pill.
But what if there were only 100,000 deaths a year due to the third mechanism of the Pill? Or what if there were only 10 deaths a year? Would this be morally justifiable?
A husband and wife cannot play Russian Roulette with a child’s life every time they have sex.
I realize you may be hearing this information for the first time. I don’t write these things to condemn or burden you. I want to encourage you to begin researching the things discussed in this blog post. Begin researching and discuss this with your mentors in your local church.
I know you are passionate about the Sanctity of Life and I am confident you and your bride will strive to be consistently pro-life in your marriage. Lives are at stake and we cannot sacrifice them for sexual leisure. People will think you are crazy, but please don’t drink the kool-aid by swallowing the Pill.
Believers must strive to glorify the Lord in every area of life. This includes even our most personal and intimate matters. Nothing is off limits to God.
We have received forgiveness at the great cost of Calvary. We been bought with a price; therefore let us glorify God in our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
This post was adapted from an essay by Sean Perron on the ethics of birth control. See the resource page.